Friday, February 20, 2009
Sorry I haven't posted much lately. I've been in a short stretch of time in which other things besides blogging have had to take precedence in my schedule. At any rate, let's move along in our course.
For those of you who are sewing the apron with us, the next step is to pin the bodice to the skirt. Place the right sides together. Sew a hem along the very, very top, being sure to catch all the layers of fabric. You can baste this hem if you like. When through, you should be able to turn the bodice upward so that the front of the bodice is above the front of the skirt. Don't worry if the fabric rolls a little bit at the top. We will hem the top of the skirt later on and everything will fall into place.
The sewing in my photos is a little rough. I went back and re-sewed the bodice to the top to create a neater hem. But, you should be able to get the basic idea from the pictures. A good pressing every time you sew a seam is always a good thing.
Great cooking and baking begins with great ingredients. We all admire the Proverbs 31 woman because she is like merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She selects the best ingredients for her family and prepares nourishing and adequate meals for her entire household. Since so many of the verses in Proverbs 31 refer to her thrift, we can assume that she is a frugal shopper. She also plants a vineyard and buys a field, signs that she may have grown or had servants grow food for her own table.
There was a reason why the Proverbs 31 woman was interested in a vineyard. Remember, she couldn't run to her local grocery store for juices or tea or drinks. She had little means by which to preserve foods at hand. She lived in a fairly dry climate where clean and sanitary drinks were not always so easy to come by. She also didn't have access to a drugstore stocked with ointments to clean and protect wounds or fever reducers or mild pain killers. Thus, the people of her day prized the grape, for it provided a sustaining juice, tasty fruit, and wine and vinegar that, in addition to being consumed, could be used as medicines and food preservatives.
The Proverbs 31 woman would have been astonished to walk into a modern supermarket and see all the meats, produce, dairy products, juices, teas, baking goods, etc., that are available to us today. She would think we are blessed indeed to have such a bountiful stock of items to choose from. We, too, need to be grateful to live in a world where abundance is, for many of us, just a short drive away. Perhaps, our gratitude can show itself in thanking the Lord, preparing creative menus and meals, in using our food dollars as wisely as possible, and in sending aid to those who live in countries that lack the abundance of the first world lands.
Not only do we have stores available, we have access to garden centers and Internet garden supplies If we choose to grow our own food, we can easily find the materials we need.
Moreover, there are many fine blogs on the Internet that are devoted to the subject of frugal shopping and cooking, to recipes, etc.
Truly, while there is much heartbreaking poverty and famine in the world, most of us in the blog-o-sphere have been blessed with so many resources to feed our families. Yes, our budgets are getting tighter and the economy is shaky. Even so, most of us have many reasons to rejoice when it comes to cooking and baking for our loved ones.
Many of you may keep poultry and have fresh eggs at your disposal. That is the loveliest option of all, I think. However, for the rest of us, it's important to know how to shop for eggs in the store.
Up to the 1960's or 1970's people assumed that eggs were a healthy food. Then, eggs got a bad rap because they contain cholesterol. Some time later, doctors decided that one egg or so a day is probably ok for healthy people. Now, there's some re-thinking of this matter yet again, and the final jury's still out regarding whether eggs are good for you or not. I tend to believe that they are a little powerhouse packed with good nutrition for a reasonable price -- provided that you do exercise moderation. For only 75 to 81 calories in an egg (not counting calories added by cooking oils), you do receive a comparatively lot of complete protein, as well as a good number of vitamins and minerals.
Here are a couple of articles you can read to help you decide what is right for your family. Eggs1 Eggs2 These are just two of many articles related to this subject. Do your own research, and ask your doctor if you have any questions.
One way to reduce the cholesterol and fat in eggs is to use egg whites only. This is probably a good idea if you are cooking for a middle-aged man with risk factors for heart disease. However, other than protein, most of the nutritional factors in an egg are only in the yolk.
Eggs are important ingredients in baking, though there are ways to get around the use of eggs if you have allergies to eggs or are concerned about the possible drawbacks of eggs. Eggs also can serve as binders to hold certain dishes together.
When shopping for eggs, look for grade AA or A eggs with uncracked, clean shells. The eggs should be stored in a refrigeration unit Make sure that they are cold to the touch. Check the package for a sell-by or use-by date. (Did you know that you can use paper or cardboard egg cartons in your compost pile? Tear the cartons into little pieces. Styfrofoam cartons are not suitable for this purpose.)
You can probably get away with storing eggs in your fridge for three to five weeks from your date of purchase. When you bring eggs home, don't rush to wash the eggs right then. If you do so, you will remove a natural protective coating from the shell. Keep eggs in the store carton and put them at the back of your coldest shelf in the fridge. Keep the egg cartons closed to protect the eggs from odors and from the drying effects of refrigerated air.
You can freeze eggs, though I've never tried, myself. First, you beat the yolk and white teogther if you intend to freeze them as the whole egg. You can also freeze the whites alone. Place in a freezer safe container for up to six months.
For more detailed information about shopping for eggs, read Eggsentials and What's cooking America? Eggs.